PROCRASTINATION IS THE THIEF OF TIME
“Do not put off until tomorrow what can be done today.” A failure to convey to a loved one the unmistakable message – “I truly love you for what you are and not for what I would like you to be” – is like writing the other a letter but forgetting to post it. “Words to the heat of deeds too cool breath gives,” so said that immortal genius, William Shakespeare, in one of his classical tragedies – Macbeth.
“Procrastination is indeed the thief of time.” This was the startling discovery made by a High School teacher. In a Tale of Two Cities, she learned that Sydney Carter – a central character in the novel by Charles Dickens – was a shrewd young Englishman and sometime junior to his fellow barrister C.J. Stryver. In the novel, Carter is seen to be a drunkard, depressed and self-loathing because of his wasted life. He had a strong, unrequited love for Lucie Manette, and this literally broke his heart. In the end, he nobly gave up his very life for her happiness.
Again, in a horrific and tragic moment of insane jealousy, Othello smothered his devoted wife, Desdemona. His grief was bottomless when he realised that she had indeed been faithful to him, but had maliciously had his mind poisoned by a calumnious report on which he acted recklessly. “Procrastination is indeed the thief of time.”
Helen Keller had a singularly special teacher in Annie Sullivan, who was figuratively ‘blind’ until she discovered that she loved Helen, and that Helen loved her.
And this was the startling discovery made by that High School teacher: Most, if not all great literature, is about people who simply want to be loved. As a matter of fact, we all want to be cared for and embraced.
At the end of Leo Tolstoy’s little novel, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, the dying father fears death, more so because he realises that his life was full of vanity and ambition. Suddenly his son appears at his bedside, takes his father’s hand and weeps unashamedly. And at that precise moment did the remorseful father see what life is all about: unconditional love. So inexpressibly happy was he that he passed away peacefully, having for the very first time sensed the world’s truest gift. “Procrastination is indeed the thief of time.”
Said Robert Frost, “Earth’s the right place for love.” So, remember to “post that letter today.” Do not put off until tomorrow what can be done today, for procrastination is the thief of time.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a Colombian, a famous writer and a Nobel Prize winner for Literature. He has retired from public life for reasons of health – he has a form of cancer, which is terminal. As a mark of his special love, he sent his friends a farewell letter, which contains some very salutary points:
• If God were to grant me a little more of life, I would use it to the best of my ability. I wouldn’t say everything that I have on my mind, but would be more thoughtful of all that I say.
• I would sleep little and dream more, because I know that for every minute that we close our eyes, we waste 60 seconds of light. I would walk while others stop; I would keep awake while others slept.
• If God were to give me a little bit more of life, I would dress in a simple manner, I would place myself in front of the sun, leaving not only my body, but my soul naked at its mercy.
• To all men, I would how say how mistaken they are when they think that they stop falling in love when they grow old, without knowing that they grow old when they stop falling in love.
• I would give wings to children, but I would leave it to them to learn how to fly by themselves.
• To old people I would say that death doesn’t arrive when they grow old, but with forgetfulness.
• I have learned so much with you all, I have learned that everybody want to live on top of the mountain, without knowing that true happiness is obtained in the journey taken and the form used to reach the top of the hill.
• I have learned that when a newborn baby holds, with its little hand, his father’s finger, it has trapped him for the rest of his life.
• I have learned that a man has the right and the obligation to look down at another man, only when that man needs help to get up from the ground.
• Say always what you feel, not what you think. I f I knew that today is the last time that I am going to see you asleep, I would hug you with all my strength and I would pay to the Lord to let me be the guardian angel of your soul.
• If I knew these are the last moments to see you, I would say ‘I love you’.
• There is always tomorrow, and life gives us another opportunity to do things right, but in case I am wrong, and today is all that is left to me, I would love to tell you how much I love you and that I will never forget you.
• Tomorrow is never guaranteed to anyone, young or old. Today could be the last time to see your loved ones, which is why you mustn’t wait; do it today, in case tomorrow never arrives. I am sure you will be sorry you wasted the opportunity today to give a smile, a hug, a kiss, and that you were too busy to grant them their last wish.
• Keep your loved ones near you; tell them in their ears and to their faces how much you need them and love them. Love them and treat them well; take your time to tell them ‘I am sorry; please forgive me’, ‘please, may I…’ and ‘thank you’, and all those loving words you know.
• Nobody will know you for your secret thoughts. Ask the Lord for wisdom and strength to express them.
• Show your friends and loved ones how important they are to you.
So, remember to “post that letter today.” Do not put off until tomorrow what can be done today, for procrastination is the thief of time.